By Business Reporter – Thursday 22 August 2019
HARARE (Mining Index) – ZIMBABWE is said to be losing a quarter of its diamond revenue through selling of rough diamonds on the international market due to lack of skills on evaluation, knowledge and proper pricing of the mineral.
In an interview with Mining Index, Zimbabwe Diamond Education College Course Lecturer Tendai Mtoko said Zimbabwe’s diamonds are fetching far less compared to the actual price of diamonds obtaining on the global market.
“We have realised that the nation has been losing a lot of money through selling rough diamonds on the international market mainly because of lack of knowledge on diamonds, especially on the pricing of the diamonds.”
“Diamonds on the local market are priced from US$600 per carat to around US$1300. The same diamonds are sold on the international market from US$2 800 to around US$5 000 so the nation has been losing a lot because of lack of skills on evaluation.”
He said his college trains a wholesome person in terms of understanding diamonds and soft stones.
“The diamond industry relies mostly on how much an individual knows about the diamond. We believe that those people who do not have adequate information on the diamond benefit the least compared to those who have more information, so information is hidden.”
“As a school, we are trying to educate the nation on the need to have proper evaluation of their resources so as to benefit from their resource when it comes to international trade,” said Mtoko.
The mining sector in Zimbabwe still needs to do a thorough geological survey to ascertain quantity and value of its mineral resource base, diamonds included.
Mtoko pointed out that Zimbabwe is losing a lot of qualified professionals with the bulk of the students they train being employed outside Zimbabwe’s boarders, with a few employed locally.
“Most of the students that we have trained are benefiting our neighbours in South Africa, Botswana and Angola and even if you go there, they are the ones that will serve you. They occupy very high posts.”
He revealed that in Zimbabwe, their alumni has been absorbed by local companies, with Murowa Diamonds employing three students, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) taking two while the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ)has employed many working as evaluators.
The Zimbabwe Diamond Education College was established in 2010 to inculcate skills on how to identify, evaluate and value add diamonds.
The college is accredited by the Mining Qualifications Authority. It is also certified by the Education and Training Qualification Authority as a service provider for the diamond industry.
Mtoko said the Zimbabwe Diamond Education College uses locally resourced diamonds from ZCDC and MMCZ in their training sessions, with their shortest course completed within four weeks while an entry level of five ordinary levels is required.
“The 4 week course offers students an opportunity to learn how to identify diamonds, geological settings on where to find diamonds, minerals associated to diamonds and how to test for diamonds using both cheaper and electrical ways of diamond testing.”
He added that students will also have an opportunity to learn about the properties of identifying pure gold and diamond rings from fake ones.
Mtoko said the Zimbabwe Diamond Education College participated in the drafting of the National Diamond Policy, launched by government in December 2018 through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. ENDS//